Posted by on May 27, 2014 | 0 comments

The Truth Shall Set You Free

My memoir was officially launched last week. It was my dream book launch: the event was held at the Book Lounge, an independent bookstore in the centre of Cape Town. I fell in love with the place when I first went there some years ago. It’s the true bibliophile’s bookstore – unpretentious, packed full of books and character, and staffed by people who love to read. I’d been to a number of launches there in the past, and each time I would imagine my own launch taking place there. I was thrilled when my publisher informed me that they had chosen it as the launch venue. The place was packed last week, which is always a good sign. I was nevertheless surprised to find that around seventy percent of the audience were medical professionals, the majority of them doctors. I didn’t think medics attended such events, but I guess the subject matter warranted such a strong turn-out. Of course it was great to have so many people there to...

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Posted by on May 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Resistance is Futile

Up until now I’ve only received strongly favourable feedback on my memoir, Postmortem – The Doctor Who Walked Away. Every day since the release of the book I’ve had emails from doctors congratulating me on the book and expressing their gratitude that I have written something that resonates with many of their experiences. The messages have been heart-warming and affirming. “I just got tired. And I didn’t like the sour and resentful person I was slowly turning into. Honestly I have never really said this without a pang of guilt. And that’s the liberation that has come with reading your book. I have great respect for you for saying what all of us were thinking.” “All the experiences you and the other doctors you spoke to talked about just brought all those old feelings back.” “I was so happy to hear that somebody has written a book of this nature! We were talking about it at work. It’s crazy out there!” “Hats off to you for being honest and...

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Posted by on May 15, 2014 | 2 comments

Cracking Open The Wounds

The other day one of our local newspapers ran a headline on their front page that hit me like a punch in the guts: SA’s junior doctors ‘abused, exhausted’. The story focuses on the plight of interns and community service doctors in South Africa’s public hospitals and the conditions under which they have to work. In particular the article highlights the insane hours junior doctors work, and how exhaustion is causing them to be a danger to themselves and their patients. Some of the comments from the doctors interviewed broke my heart. “I have fallen asleep behind the wheel of my car multiple times.” This from a doctor at the end of a 32-hour shift. “…after a while my mind just stopped paying attention.” “We often felt out of our depth. The stress burdens you.” When I read the article and the comments from the numerous doctors, I felt sad. It brought back so many memories of my own time as a doctor – the crazy hours, huge responsibility, and...

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Where Is Home?

Lately I’ve found myself feeling swept up in all sorts of currents. Now that my memoir has been released and the publicity machinery is in full swing, I have had moments of feeling rattled by it all. It’s wonderful, of course, that the book has sparked a lot of interest and I’m grateful for the newspaper, magazine and radio exposure. But if I’m honest I must also say that it has been unsettling. Or at least it was… until Elizabeth Gilbert reminded me where home is. In this inspiring video Gilberts talks about how the success she found following the release of her book Eat, Pray, Love left her feeling removed from her centre. She says that, ironically, the success of the book made her feel the way she used to feel when she was struggling to make it as a writer. Both the experiences – the phenomenal success and the initial failure – left her feeling unsettled. It was only when she went back to her writing –...

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Posted by on May 6, 2014 | 0 comments

You Want Fame?

One of my favourite television programmes when I was growing up was the performing arts series, Fame. Each episode began with the dance teacher, played by Debbie Allen, saying to her bright-eyed students: “You’ve got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying …in sweat.” The other day I was asked to give an interview on a local radio station. We were allocated a five minute slot in which to discuss my recently published memoir, Postmortem – The Doctor Who Walked Away. The time went by so quickly! At times during the interview I felt like I was rambling, yet I also felt I wasn’t saying enough of what I wanted to say. It all seemed to go by in a haze, and by the end of the allotted time I felt as if I had sped through a dark tunnel and then suddenly emerged into the blinding sunlight. My first reaction was to retreat inwards and to analyse each second...

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